Responding to a new plan by the NHS and Government to support GPs and primary care, which is to be announced in full later this week, Dr Kieran Sharrock, acting chair of the BMA England GP committee, said:
“General practice is almost on its knees, facing a crisis as patient demand continues to rise and the workforce continues to dwindle. So, whilst we welcome the planned investment and innovative new ways that will support our profession in delivering care, there doesn’t seem to be much in the plan about how we stop GPs leaving the profession, or how we retain the staff that we already have.
"Managing the strain on services to help primary care recover will happen only when and if there is a commitment from the government to increase the actual numbers of GPs, and while new technology has been urgently needed to help replace the many archaic IT systems that many practices still use, we need more details on how this will address the growing exodus of doctors who are leaving the profession. The BMA has also made it clear that the current GP contract needs to be urgently rectified in order to secure the future of patient safety, and we need to see actual investment in practices to help them stay open.
“More community services are needed to relieve pressures on GPs, but what these measures don’t consider are the continuing cuts to public health funding and that more community pharmacies are closing across England. These ambitions to help GPs are in fact just set up to fail, with the growing problems in workforce numbers and infrastructure that we have acting as barriers that will prevent effective change from happening.
“The health of the nation is firmly in the hands of this Government. If it doesn’t invest in general practice properly, as a population we will simply continue to get sicker.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
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